God Uses Ordinary People (Acts 4:13)
Updated: May 11
In Acts 4:13 we read, "When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus." Peter and John were brought before the Sanhedrin because Peter had healed the man at the gate called beautiful in the name and power of Jesus. Also he had spoken with the crowd that gathered and declared that it was not by their own power or godliness that they had made this man walk, but by faith in Jesus. Whom they had crucified but whom God had raised from the dead.
The result was that the Priests and Sadducees became disturbed, fearful, and scared at the actions of these unschooled and ordinary men. Therefore, they had them arrested and brought before them. Peter and John were just ordinary men who had been with Jesus. They were simply fishermen who had been very difficult to teach during the time that Jesus spent with them during his earthly ministry. Peter in particular had a wonderful ability to get things wrong and to screw things up. Yet, when the power of Jesus came upon them at Pentecost in the form of the Holy Spirit these ordinary men became part of that community that turned the world upside down.
God just loves to use ordinary people. He takes great pleasure in using the nobodies of this world. Paul writes in 2 Cor.4:7, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” Several years ago I attended the funeral of Geoff Morrow a former Tabor student of mine whom, work for 30 odd years with Wycliffe Bible Translators. We were told at the funeral how Geoff in the early days of his ministry use to introduce himself by saying, “I’m Geoff Morrow. I’m a nobody from Nihill.” Geoff was a country boy who never had great pretensions about his own self-importance nor his ability. He was a student of mine and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Intercultural Studies. Geoff wasn’t the best student I have ever had, but he was one of the most grateful. He loved to learn and appreciated all the help that he received. After he graduated he would periodically turn up at my office door with a new question or an issue that he was working on, and he developed many simply but incredibly creative tools which help people engage in and become excited about mission both here in Australia and overseas.
Geoff wanted to become a Bible translator and that stemmed from an amazing love for the Word of God, which he read incessantly. But, God never allowed Geoff to be a Bible translator. Yet, I don’t know anyone in Australia who has been responsible for more young people becoming Bible translators, missionaries, and pastors than Geoff Morrow. He loved people and he loved Jesus and God used him to turn peoples lives upside down.
There were a few times during my time at Tabor when I felt like giving it up, class sizes were small and I didn’t always have enough students to keep some classes going. Then along came Geoff and he didn’t have a clue what I was going through, but by the time he left I was so encourage, and he made me believe that what I was doing was of real significance.
Richard Rohr in his book, Adam’s Return makes five statements about the things that traditional societies teach during Male initiation. Those five statements epitomize Geoff Morrow and the life he lived. They are:
Life is Hard – Geoff learned that working on the farm near Nihill.
You are Not Important – He was a nobody from Nihill.
Your Life is Not About You – He lived his life serving and encouraging others.
You are Not in Control – He wanted to be a Bible translator, but God said NO!
You are Going to Die – He lived his life to the full and made it count.
Geoff died at the age of 60 in the Philippines among a people he had learned to love and serve. Diamond Valley Baptist Church was full to overflowing on the day of his funeral with people who had been touch by his life and ministry. Like Peter and John, Geoff Morrow was an ORDINARY MAN. But he knew Jesus. He walked with Jesus; His life was a passionate love affair with Jesus. And this ordinate man was used by Jesus to change the lives of hundreds of people.
We live in an age of celebrities; however, it is not celebrities who turn the world upside down. It is not celebrities who make a real difference to this world. It is ordinary men and women who like Peter, John, and Geoff Morrow, love Jesus, and obediently follow him with all their heart, which God uses to turn the world upside down.
My prayer for each of you, that read this post, is that you would accept your ordinariness. But in accepting your ordinariness you would come to know Jesus in such a way that those around you will recognize that you have been with him. And in knowing Jesus you will become one of those wonderful people who turn the world upside down.